How important is it?

Daughter Connie called this morning, stressed after a week of dealing with unrealistic parents. Connie teaches special needs kids and some of the parents seem to be angry with the universe because their child isn’t “normal.” I know being the parent of a challenged child must be a hard burden to bear, however bullying the teacher does not help anything. Nor does it make you child “brighter.”  

Some of the blame for her stressed situation lies squarely at the doorstep of the government officials who never enter a classroom, but lay down onerous rules and regulations resulting in red tape. Teachers spend too much time filling out forms. Connie’s average work day is 12 hours, six days per week.

Connie says she loves teaching the kids, but the parents and the paperwork make her life extremely difficult. She says, “I spend my life wishing the day was over.” In other words wishing her life away. She says, “I don’t have a life.”

Connie is contemplating a career change owing to the misery imposed on her by this job. She thinks she will continue to teach, but a different subject. She tells me Special Ed teachers seldom last more than two years. Like social workers, they burn out and go on to other careers. 

Connie has two Master’s degrees, one in English (linguistics) and a second in Special Education. She is thinking about going back to graduate school when this term ends and becoming certified to teach Latin. “I love teaching and I’m a good teacher,” she says.  She thinks she might switch to a private high school. 

I had a heart attack at age 58 and a stroke a few years later, largely owing to being stressed out by work (my co-author the same age had quadruple by-pass surgery around the same time). Heart disease runs in our family, and I don’t want Connie having a heart attack or stroke.

If she needs to leave that job to have a happier and less stressful life, so be it. You only have this life for goodness sake.

13 thoughts on “How important is it?

  1. I know exactly what Connie is dealing with in her job. And, I feel for her. I was fortunate to be able to leave the profession at a fairly young age (58) with a fair pension and health insurance. The health factor is a big one to consider. I am healthier, happier, and much more relaxed now that I am away from the inner city high school. I was a very good teacher, but I couldn’t continue.


  2. Don’t know who I’m quoting but I like this – “no one ever wishes on his death bed that he’d spent more time at work…” Life is much too short to spend it being stressed out and unhappy. Or maybe that’s exactly what makes it short.


  3. I am sure having you as a supportive mom in her corner as she contemplates change will help. Even parents of students in advanced classes abuse the teachers. it is the age of “My child could never do anything wrong.” And regulations dreamed up by people who have never worked regularly in the relevant situations have unintended consequences. All the best to Connie.


  4. Poor Connie… I do know what that kind of stress can be like. Luckily I only had one or two years like that and certainly not 6 days a week. We need good teachers like Connie to not get burned out. She should definitely look into another kind of teaching so going to work can be a pleasure.


  5. I’m still a Social Worker, going on 30 years. Is it stressful? Yes. But I also enjoy what I’m doing and I think for me at age 53 it’s too late to make a life change such as a new career. But if she is that unhappy, I say go for it!!!


  6. This is really clear thinking on her part. Bravo. As a special needs adult, cough, I was never able to hold a jog worth a hill of beans so was always stressed out about it. 🙂

    Himself any better now that he knows he is ok? Tell him we care.

    Life here is still pile after pile. G discovered the guys installing the ducts put all the office connections behind one. Tomorrow he can deal with it all.


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